Make the ultimate comfort food for your family: Homemade Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) with ground beef – simple, yummy and easy to make.
Me, obsessing over comfort food? Comfort food like those perfect mashed potatoes I shared last week topping off homemade shepherd’s pie?
Please. It’s all heresy, I say. It’s not an obsession if it’s just a slightly unhealthy dose of loving. Right?
See, I knew you’d agree. That’s why we’re friends ♡
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
It might we worth telling you right now that the technical term for this recipe is actually cottage pie (made with ground beef) and not authentic shepherd’s pie (made with ground lamb).
But my mission here on Savory Nothings is always to share recipes real people with a real grocery budget and a regular grocery store and an everyday exhausting kids/work/life situation can make.
So, here it is. Fake Shepherd’s Pie. Aka Homemade Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef.
One that’s simple and affordable and delicious. It is the actual best.
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie
I used to work at an English pub and made so many Shepherd’s Pies in my life, I lost count. I also learned a thing or two by doing this, here are all my secrets to the best shepherd’s pie:
What do you put in shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s Pie has a delicious, gravy-laden filling and a creamy mashed potato topping.
The filling is made with ground beef, onions, carrots, celery and peas – all wrapped in a rich gravy.
The topping is simply mashed potatoes sprinkled with some cheese. Simple, but so comforting.
How do you keep the layers from mixing?
The trick here is the most important part to any homemade shepherd’s pie recipe:
For optimal layered presentation, you have to let the filling get stone cold before adding the topping.
I know. This requires you to do some very adult planning. As in, you need to know you’ll want shepherd’s pie for dinner round about 2.30pm in the afternoon.
But? It is very much worth this extra step of planning and thinking ahead. Make it and you’ll see.
Can I prepare shepherd’s pie in advance?
Yes, you can.
Assemble the entire pie as directed in the recipe, right up to the finally baking step.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, then bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden.
Can you freeze homemade shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is a great meal to make ahead and freeze!
Prepare it as directed in the recipe, right up to the final baking step.
Wrap well with foil and then aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months.
How do you reheat frozen shepherd’s pie?
To reheat, no need to defrost! Remove both foils, then replace the aluminum foil.
Bake at 400°F with the foil on for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until browned.
More comfort food recipes you’ll love:
Homemade Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons white flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
- 4 cups mashed potatoes (click for my recipe and you’ll have some leftovers to sneak during cooking)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Brown meat and vegetables: Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large, deep skillet. Add the beef and cook until browned and all the meat juices have evaporated. Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and continue cooking until the veggies are starting to soften.
- Season: Sprinkle the salt, paprika, pepper and flour over the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring all the time, until it smells roasted (about 1 minute).
- Deglaze the pan: Pour the red wine over the meat and veggies, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until a thick gravy has formed.
- Finish the filling: Stir in the peas and herbs. Check for seasoning, then spread in a 7×11 baking dish and set aside until completely cold.
- Prep mash: In the meantime, make your favorite mashed potatoes. You need about 4 cups of mash to top off the casserole. About 1.5 pounds of peeled potatoes should yield enough.
- Bake pie: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread the mashed potatoes over the cold filling. (Be careful not to mix up the two.) Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden.